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Riverfest Celebrates 21st Birthday in Yonkers

Brooklyn's famous Hungry Marching Band brass ensemble got locals dancing at Riverfest on Saturday. Photo Credit: Suzanne Samin
A local girl gets her face painted at Yonkers Riverfest. Photo Credit: Suzanne Samin
Yonkers city council president Chuck Lesnick and city council candidate Corazon Pineda spent time at the festival meeting Yonkers residents. Photo Credit: Suzanne Samin
Gridline, a psychedelic rock band from Purchase, played on one of the festivals several stages. Photo Credit: Suzanne Samin

YONKERS, N.Y. -- Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick said if a baby had been born when Riverfest began, he could have taken them out for their first drink this Saturday.

The 21st annual RiverFest, located in downtown Yonkers, attracted people from across Westchester seeking to savor the last few weeks of summer weather.

Several streets were closed off to traffic  to provide space for three stages, hundreds of local vendors, food, carnival games, art shows, face-painting, dancing and even a giant trampoline show.

Attendees enjoyed back-to-back live, family-friendly entertainment, including a special performance by Brooklyn's Hungry Marching Band - a brass ensemble that got locals dancing to their energetic swing music.

Children and adults alike stared in awe at a U.S. competitive trampoline team, which stopped by to perform death-defying stunts before heading to China to compete.

Other performers included Jermaine Paul, winner of NBC's The Voice; Gridline: a five-piece psychedelic rock band from Purchase; famous tribute band Kiss! Alive; and Nickelodeon favorite The Dirty Socks Club.

Dan Lipka, executive director of Yonkers Downtown BID, said, "We've been working on the Riverfest for months trying to make it a collaborative effort with all the city departments and community organizations in this area. The purpose of the event is to get people to see what's going on downtown. (Downtown Yonkers) has been improving consistently over the years, and we want to celebrate that by inviting people down and giving something to the community."

Longtime Yonkers resident Aileen Kilcommons was a little disappointed with the turnout this year, based on how much work has been put into growing the event.

"I think the festival is really lovely. I think they do a great job. I kind of wish there were a few more people who would come out, considering all the activity," she said. "I think they have a beautiful day, and there's a lot of nice things for everybody here."

Corazon Pineda (D), a candidate for Yonkers city council in the second district, stopped by to get to know some of her potential future constituents.

"This is a great event, it really brings the community and city of Yonkers together. I'm really happy to be here to support all of the vendors and people who are here. It's great to see the community come together for a great cause," she said.

Lesnick said 21 years ago, he partnered with Mayor Terrence Zaleski and Andrea Stewart-Cousins to found Riverfest.

"We brought people down to an area that was undeveloped and showed them that people would come to a fun event on the waterfront if we had it. Now, 21 years later, it continues to be a huge event in Yonkers that brings the community together" he said.

For more information on Riverfest and its role in Yonkers' history, visit its website here .

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